It’s true, the best way to save money for holiday shopping is to plan ahead. But, it’s not the only way. We get it, we have very busy lives. The good news is that you don’t have to blow the budget, or worse go into debt, just because you procrastinated. You just need to adjust your budgeting strategy. These tips will help you.
Set a Spending Limit
Decide how much money you can spend on all of your holiday shopping this year. Keep this number in mind every step of the way. Do not exceed your limit! Avoid the pressure to match spending habits with family members or peers.
Make A List
Type out a list of every person you need to purchase a gift for, large or small. Split your list into tiers: parents, significant other or spouse, siblings, in-laws, your friends, coworkers, and so on. From here, divvy up your spending budget among the people on your list.
If you have less to spend this year, don’t worry about what you spent on a gift for the same person in 2016. That doesn’t matter. Also, do not feel guilty if you have to drop someone from your list this year.
If you have a large family or swap gifts with a group of friends, consider drawing names with your group to reduce the amount of gifts each person must purchase. This will save you money and allow you to purchase something truly special for the person.
Consider Unconventional Gifts
Don’t forget the reason for the season. It’s more about presence than presents! A thoughtful and personalized gift is always better than an expensive one. For smaller gifts, you can bake several dozen cookies and split up the batches. Use themed cookie cutters or packaging to add a touch of holiday cheer. Baked goods are also great to have on hand for when you accidentally leave someone’s name off your list or you receive an unexpected gift and feel obligated to return the gesture.
Holiday Shopping Hacks
First things first, never go into a store without your list. This way you’ll know exactly what you need to purchase for who and your maximum spending allowance for that person. With your list in hand, you are less likely to do any extra shopping.
Next, grab a newspaper to look for deals and coupons before you go. It’s also a good idea to check out each store’s website for holiday promotions or even download the store’s app to earn extra bonuses. Don’t forget to ask about free gift wrap when you’re checking out! It’ll save you time and money on gift wrapping supplies!
Do not be tempted to sign up for department store credit cards this season. Sure, you’re likely to save a buck or two on your purchase. But, if you can’t make the full payment at the end of the month, you’ll end up spending more than you saved on interest fees.
If you aren’t looking to brave the crowds in the stores, you can just as easily surf quietly among them online. Many retailers have holiday deals available.
Know When You’re Done
Once you’ve found a gift for a person on your list, cross them off and move on. When you’ve successfully covered everyone, stop shopping. A last minute gift does not equal a bad gift. Ignore the pressure to buy more!
Are you looking to get your finances on track? You can’t be successful without a budget! Download our free Monthly Budgeting Sheet to get started today.